Dresden, Germany, September 8, 2013. After their big success versus Azerbaijan the day before, Belarus could not tie in with another big game today. Croatia outclassed the Byelorussians in straight sets (25-19, 25-10, and 25-19). Russia booked their third win at EuroVolley 2013 by defeating Azerbaijan in straight sets (25-16, 25-20, and 28-26).
1.700 fans in EnergieVerbund Arena in Dresden saw a one-way duel with a Croatian team on fire against Belarus. In the first set, Croatia and Belarus started nervously, especially in passing. Croatia led 8-6 at the first technical time-out. The successful blocks of Belarus made it hard for Croatia to open a large gap. After the second technical break, the Croatian team led 16-15 and thanks to two mistakes of their opponents, the team of head coach Igor Lovrinov extended its lead to four points. Belarusian coach Viktar Hancharou replaced wing-spiker Nadzeya Malasai with Tatsiana Markevich. Nevertheless, it was already too late. Samanta Fabris ended the set 25-19 with a hard attack for Croatia.
Belarus were obviously confused in the beginning of the second set and did not find a useful method against the powerful Croatian attacks with Mira Topic in excellent mood. At the first technical time-out, Belarus already trailed by six points. It was a unilateral game with Croatia flying to an undisputed 25-10 after 21 minutes.
At the start of the third set, Croatia gave Belarus the chance for a comeback. Consequently, Croatian coach Igor Lovrinov set new impulses with the replacement of setter Ana Grbac with Bernarda Brcic. It obviously helped as Croatia regained momentum in the second part of the third set (21-16). Belarus did their best to bounce back but could not prevent the Croatians from pulling through. A block winner sealed the set 25-19 and the match 3:0 for Croatia.
Croatia head coach Igor Lovrinov: “I was a little bit afraid before the game today because we had only some hours to recover. However, my team has shown an unbelievable will. We achieved two great victories in this tournament and showed an excellent performance in the match against Russia. Tomorrow we have a day off which we really deserve.”
Croatia captain Sanja Popovic: “I was sure that we would win this match when we won the first set. It gave us energy – and let us forget the fatigue. It is beneficial that we have twelve good players and not only the starting six. Our fantastic team spirit was our seventh player today.”
Belarus head coach Viktar Hancharou: “It was not easy for both teams to play today because the last two games cost us a lot of energy. My team is very young and unexperienced. Therefore, we could not handle the physical and mental tiredness as well as our experienced opponents. Considering all three matches, I am proud of my team. We can be very satisfied.”
Belarus captain Volha Palcheuskaya: “After the hard match yesterday we were tired and acted a little bit slowly today. We played well in the first set. More was not possible for us in this match.”
Russia confirm their ambitions for a top spot at EuroVolley 2013
Russia booked their third win at EuroVolley 2013 by defeating Azerbaijan in straight sets (25-16, 25-20, 28-26). The Azeri did their best to seize their last chance for a playoff spot, but Russia gave no rise to doubts in their last Pool C match in Dresden.
The Russians quickly took the initiative and rapidly led 12-5 and 23-13 in the first set. Azerbaijan scored three points in a row to reduce the gap to seven points, but it was not good enough. Wing-spiker Tatiana Kosheleva and opposite Nataliya Obmochaeva ended the opening set 25-16 for Russia.
In the second set, the Azerbaijanis played better. However, it was hard for Azerbaijan to attack against the Russian block wall. In case a ball of the Azerbaijanis found its way through the tall block players, it was cleared by the strong Russian field defence. Three Russian mistakes in the final phase of the set could not prevent a well-deserved 2:0 set lead for Russia (25-20).
In the third set, Russia’s coach Yuriy Marichev gave four regular players a rest and sent in Daria Isaeva, Viktoria Chaplina and Natalia Dianskaya as well as his second libero Anna Malova. The set progressed rather equally with Azerbaijan leading 16-15 at the second technical time-out. A service mistake of Russian opposite Daria Isaeva brought Azerbaijan 23-22 ahead. Some moments later, wing-spiker Natalya Mammadova had the chance to reduce the gap to one set for Azerbaijan, but Viktoria Chaplina made a tremendous save. Russia saved a second set ball before the Marichev team pulled through 28-26 with their second match ball.
Azerbaijan assistant coach Aleksandr Chervyakov: “We couldn’t recover mentally from our catastrophic opening of the tournament. The first match badly influenced the following tournament running of my team. It was clear that one team has to leave the group. It is very unfortunate that it’s us.”
Azerbaijan captain Natalya Mammadova: “We’ve prepared very well and intensively for the European Championship, but couldn’t show it here. Nobody is more disappointed about our results than we are. At this moment, I have no explanation for our bad performance.”
Russia head coach Yuriy Marichev: “We are very happy about the first place in our pool. I see the coming two days of break with mixed feelings. On one hand, a pause is not bad, but on the other hand, we cannot work continuously. We have improved systematically. Therefore we will wait and see how we will overcome the disruption.”
Russia captain Ekaterina Pankova: “After the hard game yesterday it was important to win at least two sets today because the first position in the group was sure with it. It’s exciting that we could win the game clearly with 3:0.”
The Preliminary Phase of the 2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women was split into four pools of four teams with the top three from each pool advancing to the next competition stage. The first ranked teams of each pool are directly qualified for the quarterfinals, while the second and third ranked teams will fight for the last four quarterfinal tickets.
For the first time in history, 130 countries with all five continents involved cover the Women's EuroVolley.
CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women
Records of the last five editions
2011 in Italy/Serbia: Serbia (gold), Germany (silver), Turkey (bronze)
CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women
2009 in Poland: Italy (gold), the Netherlands (silver), Poland (bronze)
2007 in Belgium/Luxembourg: Italy (gold), Serbia (silver), Russia (bronze)
2005 in Croatia: Poland (gold), Italy (silver), Russia (bronze)
2003 in Turkey: Poland (gold), Turkey (silver), Germany (bronze)
All-time medal table
1. Russia (17 gold / 4 silver / 3 bronze), 2. Poland (2/4/5), 3. Germany (2/5/3), 4. Italy (2/2/2), 5. The Czech Republic (1/4/4), 6. The Netherlands (1/2/1), 7. Bulgaria (1/0/2), 8. Serbia (1/1/1), 9. Croatia (0/3/0), 10. Hungary (0/1/3), 11. Turkey (0/1/1), 12. Romania (0/0/1). 12. Ukraine (0/0/1).
World Ranking – Women (participating teams)
4. Italy, 6. Russia, 7. Serbia, 9. Germany, 11. Turkey, 13. Poland, 18. The Netherlands, 22. The Czech Republic, 31. Croatia, 31. Bulgaria, 36. Azerbaijan, 39. Belgium, 39. Belarus, 42. Spain, 42. France, 109. Switzerland.
For further information visit the official website or click here for a detailed match schedule of the playoff round.